NEW YORK -Does the introduction of Lego Mindstorms Vision Command robot signal the beginning of the end for humanity, or is it simply a really smart toy?
While the Lego Mindstorms Vision Command allows kids to build and program a robot that can follow them around a room, watch for and record intruders, dance and play musical instruments, it is not bent on world domination.
The core of the Vision Command is the new Lego PC video camera, or Lego Cam. The camera is designed to be used with typical Lego building blocks, which can be used to build a PC camera stand. The camera can also be snapped into place as the eyes of the robot.
An extra-long cord with a USB connection lets the Lego camera go mobile and patrol a perimeter around the PC. When combined with the Lego Robotics Invention System, users can create robots that see.
Using the Lego Mindstorms' visual programming system, kids program their robots to respond to motion, light and color. With a few commands, users can make their robot search for, pinpoint and track an object such as a yellow ball, or possibly a brightly colored family pet. Then, they can let their robot explore on its own as they watch the action live on their PC.
The Lego Cam can also be used as a stand-alone PC video camera, with standard video and image capturing capabilities.